A happy juxtaposition of hoardings at Wallacetown in the Invercargill electorate:
Captions are welcome – witty not nasty.
The trend in the polls is encouraging but the future isn’t as blue as they paint it.
National is polling well, but still slightly below where it was at this time before the 2011 election.
The message is clear – if people want a third term national government with John Key as Prime Minister they have to vote and vote blue.
Ticking National candidates will help get them into parliament.
But it’s the party vote that counts most and only by ticking National for the party vote will help it into government.
Labour leader David Cunliffe has denied he has double standards for refusing to rule out relying on the Internet Mana party to form a government despite deriding National for its coat tailing deals in Epsom and Ohariu.
Mr Cunliffe has accused National of manipulating voters by using the coat-tailing provisions to try to boost its support partners’ chances through electorate deals in Epsom and Ohariu.
However, he will not rule out calling on the Internet Mana Party if needed to form a Government.
The Internet-Mana alliance was set up to try to get the Internet Party into Parliament on the back of Hone Harawira’s seat, Te Tai Tokerau.
MMP allows parties which win an electorate seat to bring in other MPs even if they do not reach 5 per cent of the party vote.
Prime Minister John Key said Mr Cunliffe would try to form a government with the Internet Mana which had a similar deal and Labour had tried similar deals with Alliance and Green MPs in the past.
“A little bit of consistency would be good.” He believed voters knew MMP well enough to make the choices they considered best.
The PM has been open about which parties he is prepared to have in a government he leads and which he won’t.
He’s given voters the information they need to make a fully informed choice and it’s up to them how they exercise that choice.
But Cunliffe is taking Winston Peters’ line in refusing to confirm exactly what he’ll do, or not do, until after the election.
Mr Cunliffe said he had made it clear it was “extremely unlikely” any Internet Mana Party MPs would get ministerial positions, or even lower level associate or undersecretary roles in a Labour-led Government.
But he would not rule out policy concessions in return for their votes, saying that was a matter to discuss after the election. “We will talk to whoever the voters serve up.” . .
That’s another yeah-nah position.
Labour’s consistently polling below 30% an is very unlikely to have a strong foundation of voter support from which to bargain.
Mr Key said he doubted Labour would not include Internet Mana in Cabinet if it was needed to form a government.
“The reality is David Cunliffe about 10 months ago came into the job of Leader of the Opposition and said he was going to deliver a result in the high 30s for Labour and that would see them as the next government. Then he downsized that to the low 30s. In recent times, he’s been saying Labour in the 20s could still theoretically become the government. What we know is when you’re Leader of the Opposition you’re desperate to become Prime Minister and will probably do anything. He’s in the camp of forming an alliance with anybody to get over the line.” . . .
Cunliffe will be desperate to be Prime Minister and if the Green, New Zealand First and Internet Mana parties have enough sets to enable him to cobble together a coalition of the losers he’ll make any concessions he needs to be in government.
He had a chance to show strength as the PM did when he ruled out Winston Peters before previous elections.
But Cunliffe’s too desperate to win at any cost to rule out Dotcom and the Internet Mana Party he funds and controls.
However, rather than helping Labour into government it could well set them even further back.
Moderate voters who are undecided will be repulsed by the spectre of Labour and the GIMPs.
The rules allow the smaller of the bigger parties and an ill-assorted bunch of also-rans to form a government but that’s unlikely to be the sort of government most voters would find palatable.
They have the the prospect of a strong and refreshed National Party likely to need only minor support from other parties who have proven to work well in government or a weak and stale Labour Party requiring major support from an unproven and disparate assortment of parties.
It’s a choice between progress and stability on one side and regression and instability on the other.
John Armstrong writes on the disease of gotcha politics:
It sure ain’t pretty. It sure ain’t enlightening. It is most definitely insidious. It is a creeping cancer of the New Zealand body politic.
Regardless of whether it is John Key or David Cunliffe who has the numbers on election night to pick up the reins of power, so-called “gotcha politics” is almost guaranteed to be the big winner of the 2014 election campaign.
If it is voters will be the losers.
“Gotcha politics” is all about focusing voters’ attention on the gaffes and mistakes of opponents rather than trying to win the election by winning the battle of ideas.
It is personality-based politics, not issue-driven politics. It is all about wrecking your opponents’ campaign by landing major hits on their credibility.
It is also negative.
That’s what makes Labour’s exhortation to vote positive so oxymoronic because they’ve spent so much of this parliamentary term being so negative.
At its worst, gotcha politics can be an old-fashioned witch-hunt dressed up in modern-day notions of accountability. None of this new, of course.
What has changed is the extent and intensity of gotcha politics.
Even the Greens are not immune. Last Friday, that party joined others in stressing its campaign would focus on the issues, rather than the sideshows.
Was this the same Green Party whose co-leader Metiria Turei had spent much of the week demanding a prime ministerial apology for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs blunder regarding the granting of diplomatic immunity to a defence attache at the Malaysian High Commission charged with sexual assault?
No matter that various apologies had already been forthcoming. No matter that the State Sector Act and the Cabinet Manual set clear boundaries to prevent ministers interfering in operational matters – thereby begging the question of exactly what John Key was supposed to be apologising for. No matter that the Greens had politicised the whole affair to the point of jeopardising the prosecution of the Malaysian official.
When politicians get ahead of the judicial process justice for both the victim and the accused are the losers.
It is unfair to single out the Greens. Both National and Labour are just as guilty, if not more so. National’s being in Government makes it more likely to be a target of such attacks, however.
One reason “gotcha politics” is becoming more endemic is that Key has neutralised so many issues that Opposition parties are having to resort to personality-based attacks to make any kind of impact.
It’s the Opposition’s role to hold a government to account but it should be able to do that on issues rather than personalities.
If it can’t then it is not ready for government.
The other major factor is conflict-driven news media. The seemingly insatiable 24-hours-a-day appetite of internet news sites means quality has to be sacrificed for quantity when it comes to investigations and analysis.
In these circumstances, it is temptingly easier to manufacture the news through the media playing their own version of gotcha politics by trying to catch politicians out.
And an election campaign provides the happiest of all hunting grounds for such practices.
I am sure this is one of the reasons so many people are disenchanted with politics and that voter turnout is dropping.
Serious analysis and intelligent debate of issues has been replaced by a focus on personalities and sideshows.
Gotcha politics might be entertaining but it doesn’t get the majority of voters, on the contrary it turns many off.
. . . National leaves everything to its local branch, to simply vote up the candidate they like. They vote in complete isolation from the broader needs of the party – they focus only on their area.
A simple vote in a single seat election like this (the “seat” here is the right to stand for National in a particular electorate) is well known to advantage males. It is a lowest common denominator effect, where a male candidate – by virtue of entrenched mental images of what a “typical” MP look like – is more likely to be the one that the fewest people object to. As a psychological level, candidates who in any way represent a change to the status quo face an uphill battle in a single-seat election, as people who have no reason to object to the status quo (through either disinterest or design) feel some level of threat. . .
What utter tosh.
How could anyone think a typical MP looks male in the 21st century?
We’ve had two women Prime Ministers, several other female co-leaders, lots of women ministers and MPs. We’ve also had and have MPs of both genders of a variety of ethnicities.
If there ever was a typical MP look-alike there is no longer.
If Salmond had looked at the two women candidates selected by National electorates this year he’d realise how silly his supposition is:
Sarah Dowie who won the Invercargill selection could hardly look less like sitting MP Eric Roy:
Taranaki King Country candidate Barbara Kuriger looks very different from retiring MP Shane Adern.
Both women were selected in a transparent and democratic process by members in the electorate.
And while both look very different from the men they are working very hard to replace they do share their National Party values, commitment to their electorates and strong desire to serve them well.
The problem with gender balance is not National’s fair and democratic selection process.
As a party insider I can say unequivocally that there is no preconceived notion of any typical MP look-alike among members. In any selections I’ve been involved in, delegates didn’t care about gender they were seeking to get the best people for the job.
One reason other parties have a better gender balance is that they have more list MPs.
Good list MPs work hard. But electorate MPs have less choice about the demands on their time and energy and women who want a more active role in parenting can find it too difficult to balance them both.
Parliament and life as an MP aren’t family-friendly.
Improving that would do more to help attract more women than reducing democracy within the National Party.
Prime Minister John Key has ruled out any electoral deal between National and the Conservative Party.
Prime Minister John Key today made clear National’s position on accommodating support parties in electorate contests at this year’s General Election.
The National Party and its partners have successfully provided stable MMP government over two terms of Parliament and through challenging times.
“We will be seeking a further mandate on September 20,” says Mr Key.
“In an MMP environment, the public determines the make-up of Parliament by voting in a combination of parties, and every election is a tight contest.”
“After the election, political parties must work constructively to form and maintain a stable Government and voters want to know what party combinations are possible.”
In January, the Prime Minister made it clear that if National were returned to Government this election, the preference is to continue working with ACT, the Māori Party and United Future as this has been a successful combination.
He also made it clear it would be possible to add the Conservative Party and New Zealand First to this group.
Today he outlined National’s position on electorate contests for the 2014 election campaign.
“We’re seeking to maximise the party vote for National across the country in all seats. It is only through delivering the strongest possible party vote that National voters will return National to Government.”
“For the electorate vote, we will encourage National party supporters to give their electorate vote to the ACT candidate in Epsom and the United Future candidate in Ohariu.”
“We will continue to seek to maximise our party votes in those electorates and that’s what National Party candidates will be working hard to do.
“In East Coast Bays, where the Conservatives have a candidate, the only option to accommodate that party would be to remove a sitting MP from the ballot paper and that, as I have said, is a bridge too far. So there will be no electorate accommodation with the Conservatives.”
“However, we are happy to consider working with the Conservative party post-election should the public vote that party in to Parliament.”
“As I have said previously we are also prepared to discuss working with New Zealand First if that party is returned to Parliament.”
“In Epsom and Ōhariu, both ACT and United Future share a history of working with National and those are proven relationships that have stood the test of time.”
“National doesn’t always agree with ACT, the Māori Party and United Future on every issue, but together our four parties have maintained a stable and successful Government since late 2008.”
“Under the National-led Government, New Zealand is heading in the right direction and if re-elected, National will continue to work hard for all New Zealanders.”
Conservative leader Colin Craig wanted sitting East Coast Bays MP Murray McCully to stand aside so he could have a better chance at winning the seat.
Had that happened in my electorate I would have found it very difficult to vote for him rather than my National MP.
This would have been very different from Ohariu and Epsom. Peter Dunne was the local MP before MMP and Rodney Hide won Epsom when then sitting-MP Richard Worth was trying to hold it.
The people in these electorates chose someone other than the National candidates first and they keep doing that.
This year they can choose to do that again, or not.
That is very different from taking a choice away by pulling a long-serving and popular MP.
If it had been done and Craig won, any votes that counted for the Conservatives which might have helped National form a government could well have been cancelled out by National voters turned off by that thought who’d then vote for another party.
The sideshow might be entertaining for the media and political tragics.
But what really matters is that government policies are working for New Zealand and New Zealanders.
One of the most important of those is in crime reduction which has economic and social benefits.
Crime is awful for victims and costly for taxpayers.
Reducing crime reduces the number of victims and it also redirects criminals to more honest and gainful pursuits.
Labour loves to meddle in businesses where it has no business to be and if it gets into government it will be meddling in the meat industry:
Labour will create more jobs and wealth by providing the leadership and funding to help participants reform the meat sector through developing a larger scale sustainable model as part of our Economic Upgrade for the sector, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says.
“The meat sector continues to decline and must meet new challenges to maintain a secure and skilled workforce. Like our wider economy it needs an upgrade to compete overseas.
“Labour will do this by encouraging the creation of businesses with real market scale and, if required, we will look to amend the Commerce Act to achieve this aim. We will also work with Iwi and large agricultural companies to consolidate efforts and interests for the long term. . .
The meat industry is dominated by two farmer-owned co-operatives and there are also several smaller players.
What they do and how they do it is primarily the business of these businesses and their shareholders.
Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy has repeatedly, and correctly, said he will not intervene unless there sector comes up with a plan supported by the players which requires his assistance.
Anything else would be interference in private enterprise where the government has no right to be.
The industry does have challenges but Guy, and the National Party, understand any change in the meat industry must come from farmers and the processing companies.
Any attempt to impose a solution from the government down would be expensive and have the potential to contravene free trade agreements.
Less than two months from polling day National has stretched its lead over the centre left parties of Labour and the Greens.
National has climbed to 52% in the latest ONE News/Colmar Brunton poll while Labour is down one point to 28%. . .
Labour on 28% is just above its 2011 election result and the Greens have also slipped, dropping two points to 10%.
New Zealand First is steady on 4% and Internet Mana is on 2% while the Conservatives are up one to 2%. Act stays on 1% and the Maori Party is down one to 1%.
When converted into seats in Parliament, National would easily govern alone with 66 seats. Labour would have 36, with the Greens mustering 13 and the Maori Party three. Internet Mana would bring in three MP, while Act and United Future would have one apiece. . .
Both Labour and the Green party have lost support.
It’s possible that hard-line left voters have gone to Internet Mana and soft centre voters have been put-off by the thought of a Labour Green, New Zealand First, Internet Mana Party and have moved right.
This is good news for National and those who want the party to continue leading a government that is working well for New Zealand.
However, it’s not good enough.
The party was polling at similar levels before the last election and slipped.
One reason for that was low voter turn-out.
Labour thinks most of those who didn’t vote were their supporters but there was a disappointing number of National voters who didn’t vote for a variety of reasons, including thinking that the polls were so good they didn’t need to.
There is a danger that could happen again which is why all National candidates and their teams are working hard to maximise the party vote which is the one that counts for forming a government.
The National Party list for the 2014 election brings together a strong mix of both experienced political leaders and fresh new talent, says National Party President Peter Goodfellow.
“Our 2014 list shows the benefit of our ongoing rejuvenation programme. If National was able to match its election result from 2011, we would bring in as many as 13 new MPs, alongside 46 returning MPs.
“With the depth of talent we have to choose from, settling on a list that balances new blood alongside valuable experience was not an easy task. However, we believe we’ve struck the right mix that will allow for renewal and continued stability in a third term.”
A list ranking committee made up of about 30 delegates from around New Zealand gathered in Wellington yesterday to settle on the List rankings for the September 20 election.
Mr Goodfellow believes the list underlines National’s credentials as a strong economic manager which is working hard for all New Zealanders to deliver more jobs, better public services, and higher wages.
“Our list draws on people from all walks of life, from the social sector, to medicine, business, and agriculture. We have a good blend of candidates from a variety of diverse backgrounds.”
Mr Goodfellow says that sitting MPs and Ministers have been broadly ranked in their current order, but also notes there are a number of electorates with new candidates who are likely to join #TeamKey in September.
“The Party is in great heart, and I want to thank all those MPs who are retiring at this election for their contribution to their country. I also want to thank their families for the sacrifices so many of them have made to support a busy MP.
“Despite positive polling the National Party has a huge task ahead to ensure our supporters get out and vote at this election. An unstable far left coalition remains a very real risk to New Zealand’s positive outlook.
We’ll be working very hard until polling day to sell our positive cohesive plan for New Zealand that builds strongly in what the country has achieved over the last six years.”
The National Party List for the 2014 General election is:
|9||Paula Bennett||Upper Harbour|
|11||Murray McCully||East Coast Bays|
|12||Anne Tolley||East Coast|
|14||Tim Groser||New Lynn|
|19||Nikki Kaye||Auckland Central|
|20||Michael Woodhouse||Dunedin North|
|24||Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga||Maungakiekie|
|25||Nicky Wagner||Christchurch Central|
|28||Tim Macindoe||Hamilton West|
|31||Melissa Lee||Mt Albert|
|32||Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi||Manukau East|
|34||Alfred Ngaro||Te Atatu|
|37||David Bennett||Hamilton East|
|38||Jonathan Young||New Plymouth|
|40||Maggie Barry||North Shore|
|46||Paul Foster-Bell||Wellington Central|
|47||Joanne Hayes||Christchurch East|
|48||Parmjeet Parmar||Mt Roskill|
|49||Chris Bishop||Hutt South|
|50||Nuk Korako||Port Hills|
|51||Jono Naylor||Palmerston North|
|52||Maureen Pugh||West Coast – Tasman|
|53||Misa Fia Turner||Mangere|
|58||Barbara Kuriger||Taranaki-King Country|
|59||Todd Muller||Bay of Plenty|
|65||Hamish Walker||Dunedin South|
I was a member of the list-ranking committee whose deliberations are confidential.
It is not breaching that to point out that both the rejuvenation and depth of talent provide a stark contrast with Labour.
National’s policy of improving teaching quality has more support than Labour’s plan to increase the number of teachers.
New Zealanders would rather money was spent on improving teaching standards than on reducing class sizes, a Herald-DigiPoll survey reveals.
Education has become a political battleground before September’s election, with both major parties promising to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on it.
Asked about their priorities, more than 60 per cent of those polled said they would spend money on trying to improve teaching standards rather than cutting class sizes.
Labour has included reducing class sizes in its election policies.
Another of its policies, a promise to pay schools which do not ask parents for donations, gained support in the poll.
National has pledged $359 million for a scheme that would pay the best teachers and principals more.
Labour countered by promising to use that money to instead hire 2000 more teachers and reduce class sizes.
Asked about those policies, 61 per cent of those polled said the money was better spent on trying to improve teaching standards.
Thirty-five per cent thought it should be used to cut class sizes. . .
Education Minister Hekia Parata said the survey showed parents recognised the worth in the initiative.
“Parents have great knowledge about what makes a difference for their kids’ learning, and it is about the quality of learning that happens in their child’s classroom.”
If there was enough money for both better teachers and smaller classes that would be ideal.
But while we have to make a choice, it’s better to have better teachers than more.
National’s policy was designed to get the best educational outcome. Labour’s was written by the unions who put themselves and teachers ahead of education.
Labour’s policy would make a very small difference in class size, National’s would make a significant difference to the quality of teaching and that will make the most positive difference to pupils.
Hamish Walker, National’s candidate in Dunedin South received one of those Ice Challenges and accepted it with a twist.
He chose to do it by total immersion in the sea at St Clair,wearing a kilt, with the support of some Young Nats and the accompaniment of the bagpipes.
It goes to show there’s no sea cold enough to stop the pursuit of party votes for National and #TeamKey who are seeking #3moreyears.
You can see it on video here - while you’re there you could like his Facebook page too.
National list MP Claudette Hauiti is standing down.
National MP Claudette Hauiti is calling time on her short stint in politics, removing herself from contention at the coming election.
She had been selected at as the party’s candidate for Kelston, but told her caucus colleagues of her decision this morning.
That trip, and other unauthorised spending on the card – known as a purchasing or p-card – led to the list MP returning it to Parliamentary Service in March.
Outside the caucus room, Hauiti confirmed her intention to stand down from politics at the election, but refused to comment further.
She is yet to release a statement.
It’s understood she was told she would receive a low list ranking, and Kelston was considered to be a safe Labour seat. . . .
This is the right decision.
Electoral law permitted election hoardings to be displayed from yesterday.
Alfred Ngaro’s National Party teams were so keen to paint the Te Atatu electorate blue they started at midnight.
Facebook and Twitter showed MPs, candidates and supporters the length and breadth of the country erecting hoardings and enjoying themselves while doing it.
Labour teams could be forgiven for not being quite as happy in their work but that’s not the only contrast between the blue hoardings and the red ones.
The message from National is clear and consistent, the one, or should that be ones from Labour are not.
We passed this double-sided hoarding on the way home from Queenstown yesterday.
There’s two sides to the sign but a single message – party vote National.
Labour candidates are giving mixed messages – some are seeking the electorate vote over the party one, a lot of them – like those used in 2011 – don’t show their leader.
The contrast couldn’t be greater.
There are blue hoardings giving a consistent message of unity, support for party leader John Key, and being quite clear that National wants your party vote. Then there are red ones giving mixed messages which show disunity and leave voters in doubt exactly what they’re being asked to do.
It’s the party vote that counts for forming a government.
National Party MPs and candidates are showing they not only want to be in parliament, they want to be in a John Key-led government.
But the hoardings of at least some Labour MPs show they’re more concerned about their own seats than the fate of their party – their desire to be in parliament is greater than that to have Labour in government.
If Labour MPs and candidates don’t care about the party vote, why would voters?
Last night’s 3 News-Reid Research poll gave Labour more bad news:
National: 49.4 percent (down 0.3 percent)
Labour: 26.7 percent (down 0.6 percent)
Green: 12.4 percent (down 0.3 percent)
NZ First: 4.3 percent (up 0.7 percent)
Conservative: 2.7 percent (down 0.1 percent)
Internet Mana: 2.3 percent (up 0.5 percent)
Maori: 1.1 percent (down 0.4 percent)
United Future: 0.2 percent (up 0.2 percent)
ACT: 0.1 percent (down 0.3 percent)
The reason’s for Labour’s poor showing are many, but one of those is Cunliffe’s prevarication over whether or not he’d do a post-election deal with the Internet-mana Party:
SHOULD LABOUR WORK WITH INTERNET MANA IN FORMING A GOVERNMENT:
NO: 59 percent
YES: 29 percent
Don’t know: 12 percent
NO: 47 percent
YES: 40 percent
Don’t know: 13 percent
Cunliffe’s following the Winston Peters’ line on this – he’ll play the cards the voters deal.
But by doing this both men are leaving voters without information they need to cast their votes with confidence.
John Key told everyone months ago which parties he would and would not work with.
People know what they’d get if they give National their party votes.
In contrast, Cunliffe and Peters continue to prevaricate which leaves voters having to take a gamble.
If they give Labour their party votes they can’t be sure they wouldn’t be helping the Internet-Mana Party into government and if they vote for New Zealand First they have no idea if Peters would move right or left.
In spite of what he says about the possibility of staying on the cross-benches, the lure of some baubles would almost certainly persuade him to change his mind.
A vote for either Labour or New Zealand first is a vote for uncertainty and instability.
Labour has lost four points in the latest Herald DigiPoll, slumping to 26.5%, its worst level of support in 15 years.
. . . On this poll of decided voters National would be able to govern alone comfortably and gain another 10 MPs.
National has jumped 4.5 points to 54.9 per cent. A Stuff/Ipsos poll earlier this week also put support for National at 54.8 per cent.
Prime Minister John Key is more popular than he has ever been, scoring preferred prime minister on 73.3 per cent, compared with Cunliffe on 10.5 per cent and New Zealand First’s Winston Peters on 5.5 per cent.
The second-most-preferred PM out of Labour MPs is David Shearer, with 2.2 per cent, followed by Jacinda Ardern on 1.4 per cent. . .
Labour’s total support is down from 30.5 per cent in June, but it is disproportionately down among male voters, with only 23.9 per cent of men backing Labour, compared with 29.1 per cent of women.
Political commentator Chris Trotter said the poll indicated Labour was “more or less bereft of hope”.
“Labour is in an extremely parlous position, and the situation is deteriorating.”
And the news gets worse for the left:
Contrary to other polls, the DigiPoll had the Green Party losing popularity, which was also bad news for Labour and the left’s prospects. . .
A single poll could be a rogue one but a trend has to be taken more seriously and the left will even though this support reflects the views of those who have decided:
. . . Undecided voters were 11.5 per cent. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.6 per cent. . . .
It’s still the trend that counts and the trend is very good for National but it’s still a couple of months to the election and the result of that, trend not withstanding, is still not certain.
The left might be panicking but there is absolutely no room for complacency on the centre-right.
However, there is
Conservative leader Colin Craig is planning to contest the East Coast Bays seat.
He hasn’t made a formal approach but he’s keen for sitting MP Murray McCully to stand aside in the hope that people who voted for the National MP would back Craig instead.
There are several flaws with this, not least being there is absolutely no guarantee the people of East Coast Bays would vote for him in sufficient numbers.
The outcome is even less certain now that New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is talking about throwing his hat in that ring too.
Craig’s case hasn’t been helped by his party’s chief executive Christine Rankin saying the Conservatives could go right or left and work with National or Labour in government.
Voting for Craig would be difficult enough for National supporters in East Coast Bays if his party was committed to supporting a National government,. Few, if any, would countenance it if they thought there was any chance they’d be helping Labour cobble together a coalition.
The Conservative’s case for an electoral accommodation is even weaker now that Craig has said binding referenda would be a bottom line in coalition negotiations.
At the Conservative Party conference today, leader Colin Craig had a clear message to Prime Minister John Key.
He won’t do any type of deal with National unless it agrees to binding referenda. . .
There is absolutely no way a major party would agree to that policy and even if they did, Andrew Geddis points out that a cconstitutional change of such magnitude should not be passed by a bare majority.
It’s constitutionally improper to even suggest that this happen – it would be like the Maori Party saying that their price for supporting a Government would be for that Government to legislate via a bare parliamentary majority to make the Treaty of Waitangi a “higher law” constitutional document that could be used to strike down other laws. I don’t care whether you think that would be a good outcome; it would be a bad way to bring it about. . .
But even if it did it wouldn’t work under our system which gives parliament sovereignty:
. . . How in a system of parliamentary sovereignty can Parliament (in the shape of a National/Conservative majority) pass a law that says that the general public is able to, by referendum, bind future Parliaments in their lawmaking decisions?
Even if a National/Conservative Government were to use their majority in Parliament to pass a referendum law that says that if the public vote in the future for or against some measure Parliament “must” follow that vote, exactly how would this law be “binding”? If a future Parliament were to just ignore the result of such a referendum – as is the case with current Citizens’ Initiated Referendums, for which no apparent political price gets paid – then what could be done about it? How, given our system of parliamentary sovereignty, could a court order today’s Parliament to do what a past Parliament said it must do? And what could a court even order in such a circumstance? What odds a judge saying to Parliament “because an Act was passed a few years ago saying that you had to make a law if the public voted for it, you now have to draft, debate and enact this particular Bill on this particular issue.”? . . .
Craig is demonstrating his ignorance of constitutional niceties and his own political naivety by making binding referenda it a bottom line and in doing so has ruled his party out of government.
It’s the sort of policy which might gain votes from the disgruntled.
But the party is a long way from the 5% support needed to get into parliament without the safety net of an electorate seat. Thankfully the chances of him being gifted one were already low and this bottom line will ought to have killed the idea completely.
John Armstrong has joined the growing crowd calling for Kim Dotcom to put up or shut up:
The time has come for Kim Dotcom to put up or shut up, for this intelligent, canny but highly manipulative individual to front with his yet-to-be-made public disclosures which he boasts will blow John Key out of the water – and though Dotcom does not say it directly, presumably bring a rapid end to Key’s days as Prime Minister.
Dotcom must now prove far beyond any reasonable doubt that Key has lied repeatedly when challenged as to when exactly he became aware or was made aware of the former Megaupload mogul’s existence.
If Dotcom cannot or will not do that, he should zip it.
Because he is not a New Zealand citizen, Dotcom cannot stand for Parliament. But as a resident he otherwise has the same political rights accorded any voter. Turning the election campaign into even more of a circus is not one of them. . . .
If he really has a mega-bomb to drop which would be big enough to turn the tide from National the least he can do is drop it in time for voters to consider which other party would get their vote.
If he thinks that his own political travesty of Internet Mana would benefit, then he’s even more deluded than he appears to be.
Key will stand or fall on the strength of Dotcom’s case. The time has come for the country to hear it and appraise it. The time has come for Dotcom to cut the babble and prove Key is the one talking nonsense when he insists that until the eve of the police raid on Dotcom’s Coatesville mansion he did not know of Dotcom, let alone that Dotcom was living in his Helensville electorate, or that Dotcom was the subject of a FBI investigation even though the intelligence agencies for which Key has ministerial responsibility had known for at least 15 months before the raid that was the case.
If the Prime Minister has not been telling the truth, then, as Dotcom and his supporters argue, it is a matter of paramount importance even if what they are arguing about could hardly be more trivial. . .
But will Key stand or fall on the case and is it of paramount importance when the issue is so trivial?
Armstrong counters his own assertion:
If Dotcom’s case similarly relies on hearsay or circumstantial evidence in any way, he would be best to work on an exit strategy – one in which he exits now. Or at least as quickly as he can without losing too much face.
Key, in contrast, has said little that he might later regret, but done much to try to second-guess exactly what Dotcom seems to think he has on him.
When Dotcom first suggested Key had known of him some time before Key claims to have heard of him, the Prime Minister and his staff in Wellington and Helensville searched desks, filing cabinets and computer records for anything that might be incriminating even in the slightest. They found nothing.
Lastly, Dotcom should ponder over this scenario. If Key is caught out, he will probably apologise and then make his credibility the issue for the final days of the campaign.
He will be able to wager his huge stocks of popularity on voters viewing any conflict over what he said about Dotcom and what he knew about Dotcom as a minor indiscretion.
Again, the argument is probably too trivial to destroy Key. But Dotcom needs a change of government if he is to have any hope of avoiding extradition to the United States. And Key’s hard-to-believe ignorance of his existence is one of the few means Dotcom has of securing such a change.
Why is it hard to believe?
Even with my bias I couldn’t condemn David Cunliffe for forgetting he’d written a letter about a would-be immigrant years ago.
Similarly no reasonable person could expect anyone to remember everyone he’s ever heard of, especially when the records have been scoured to find anything which might counter the PM’s assertions.
And how many people care anyway?
. . . The premise here is that Key lied about knowing that he had, in his very own electorate, a man Most Wanted by the US authorities. Key has always insisted he knew nothing of Dotcom till the police raid on his home. The question here is, why does this matter? It’s likely it can be proved Key “was told” about Dotcom. But whether he actually took the information on board, along with the ninety-thousand other things he’s informed of as Prime Minister and SIS Minister, is probably unprovable.
Realistically, had Helen Clark, Jim Bolger or any other recent PM been told that some funster computer tycoon whose business practices were under overseas scrutiny had moved to New Zealand, it’s doubtful they would have seared the information into their memories either.
As for “knowing about” the raid, that information was the province of the Attorney-General, Chris Finlayson, who would have found it highly improper to share with other ministers, least of all the target indivdual’s local electorate MP.
And even if Key did “know” – so what? What does that prove? That he didn’t stop the raid? Why would he, since the police officials concerned – albeit wrongly, as a judge later ruled – would have advised him it was the correct procedure? Had Key known and overridden it, that would have been the scandal: “PM Interferes With Police To Protect Rich Constituent.” .
Whatever’s in store from Big Kim’s Mega-Evidence Upload, it seems unlikely to achieve the status of game-changer. Most people will not cast their votes according to the status or treatment of Kim Dotcom. And those voters who can be bothered to process the information will simply divide according to what they want to believe: that the Government would take all manner of risks in order to give residency to and then persecute a blameless business tycoon; and those who strongly suspect the usual roil of cock-ups and unsuccessful conspiracies to cover the cock-ups up. . .
Dotcom and his rag-tag collection of enemies of his enemy would like to believe that a revelation that the PM had heard of Dotcom earlier than he said he did is a mega-bomb that will blow National’s chances of winning the election out of the water.
That just shows how desperate and deluded they are.
It is important to Dotcom because of his ego.
But even if he does find something to prove his assertion how many other people really care enough about who heard what and when to change their votes?
Those already decided would be unlikely to be swayed by something of so little import and those undecided and moved by it would be even more likely to declare a plague on all their houses and find something better to do on election day than vote.
Parties on the left appear to think more is better when it comes to taxpayers’ money.
They want to take more so they can spend more.
In stark contrast to that National has focussed on getting value for money in the knowledge that in many areas the quality of spending is more important than the quantity.
The left’s policies tend to foster dependence where National is determined to help those who can stand on their own feet to do so.
That’s government for the people to their benefit, helping them lead more independent, hopeful and productive lives.
The question polling companies ask is if an election was held tomorrow which party would you vote for?
The answer to that is very encouraging for National and very depressing for Labour and the parties it would need to cobble together a government.
But the election isn’t being held tomorrow and while the odds favour National that could actually work against it.
No party has won 50% support since we’ve had MMP and the high support could lead to complacency.
National supporters might think they don’t need to vote or they can afford to play with their party vote.
That certainly isn’t the case.
Complacency or over-confidence from centre right voters could let Labour and the Green, NZ First and Internet Mana parties cobble together a coalition of the unwilling and ill-disciplined.